Triggering Modes in Spectrum-Based Multi-location Fault Localization
Spectrum-based fault localization (SBFL) techniques can aid in debugging, but their practicality in industrial settings has been limited due to the large number of tests needed to execute before applying SBFL. Previous research has explored different trigger modes for SBFL and found that applying it immediately after the first test failure is also effective. However, this study only considered single-location bugs, while multi-location bugs are prevalent in real-world scenarios and especially at our company Cvent, which is interested in integrating SBFL to its CI/CD workflow.
In this work, we investigate the effectiveness of SBFL on multi-location bugs and propose a framework called Instant Fault Localization for Multi-location Bugs (IFLM). We compare and evaluate four trigger modes of IFLM using open-source (Defects4J) and close-source (Cvent) bug datasets.
Our study showed that it is not necessary to execute all test cases before applying SBFL. However, we also found that that applying SBFL right after the first failed test is less effective than applying it after executing all tests for multi-location bugs, which is contrary to the single-location bug study. We also observe differences in performance between real and artificial bugs. Our contributions include the development of IFLM and CVent bug datasets, analysis of SBFL effectiveness for multi-location bugs, and practical implications for integrating SBFL in industrial environments.
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